A Caffe Nero store sign

Source: British Baker

Independent coffee house Caffè Nero is to open its first-ever drive-thru store at Stansted Airport this spring.

The new site will be located 500 yards from the main terminal building on the main road into and out of the airport, and is designed to offer a convenient drive-thru for anyone dropping off or collecting passengers or those on their way to or from longer term parking.

Caffè Nero has invested £1.2m in the 1,200 sq ft store, which has been built from scratch with a bespoke design for the location. The design will be used as a template for further drive-thru stores in the future, the company said. It will be open 24 hours a day and has generated 16 new jobs.

The ‘warm and friendly’ store is fitted with cosy wood pockets, elegant seating and lighting, and deli food to match Caffè Nero’s coffee offering.

“I’m delighted that we are opening our first drive thru store in the world,” commented Caffè Nero founder and group CEO, Gerry Ford.

“I didn’t want to open such a store until we found a location and a format where we could offer a premium experience, combined with the convenience you would look for in a drive thru. Our partnership with Stansted Airport allowed us to achieve just that. This store is an experiment for us.”

Once open, the drive-thru will take the number of sites Caffè Nero operates at the airport to five. The Caffè Nero group operates more than 620 stores across the UK and employs over 6,500 people.

Drive-thrus have continued to gain traction with coffee companies and bakeries alike. Costa is arguably leading the charge, announcing in 2022 that it was to invest £20m in its drive-thru format as it looked to add 60 of them to its store estate. Greggs also revealed it had a growing pipeline of drive-thru sites, while smaller businesses such as Scotland’s Stephens Bakery, Bayne’s the Family Bakery, and Tim Hortons have opened them.